Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Dodge Challenger leaves pack in the dust

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Sometimes, you get a test vehicle that makes you feel overmatched.

The recently tested 2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack two-door model was just such a vehicle.

It looks capable of flight, with old-school-NASCAR-like lines, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels and a long hood that looks like it could double as a helicopter landing pad.

Here are the numbers that really matter: a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine with 485 horsepower and 475 foot-pounds of torque.

Knowing this, I tried to ease the Challenger out into traffic with a very light foot on the throttle.  I failed ... miserably  The sound of burning rubber was broadcast over a wide area, much to my embarrassment.

It took me some time to get it right.  Moving the Scat Pack in reasonable order from a standing start is like climbing into a sleeping bag stretched over a slippery, high-altitude granite rock.  You have to do it carefully.

Once accomplished, you’re pretty much the master of the motoring world.

Passersby stare open-mouthed at your ridiculously hot-looking ride.

Just starting the Scat Pack produces a roar that demands attention from anyone standing within a quarter-mile radius of the car.

Prospective cut-off artists back off when they see what you’re driving.

Pokes and wildly erratic drivers are quickly dispatched with just the smallest nudges on the accelerator.

Welcome to the world of American muscle, and yeah, it feels good.

I can only imagine what it’s like to put a 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat through its paces. Maybe the feeling a cheetah gets upon encountering a herd of slow-moving antelope.

For the record, fuel mileage on the tester was 15 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

The interior of the Scat Pack was fairly basic but nicely laid out.  My optional extras included a “leather performance steering wheel,” special sporty badging and a “Satin Black” fuel filler door.  Back-to-the-70s round, analog gauges were a nostalgic treat.

The starting price for this road warrior was a surprisingly reasonable $37,995, but mine had extras that pushed the bottom line to $43,475.

This R/T Scat Pack version of the Challenger has niche appeal.  And if you have to ask what niche that is, never mind.  The power curve has somehow missed you.

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